About the SFMGA

Wednesday, August 01, 2001

CRITTER OF THE MONTH: LEAF ROLLERS

Last week I was in one of my gardens, and from afar I could see a plant in the corner that I had never noticed before. Excited to have one be so kind as to volunteer herself in my yard, I walked over to get a better look. Low and behold, it was not a new plan at all! It was a defoliated hollyhock that looked like it was wearing a mask. The villain was a couple of black and gray caterpillars that spun a web around the leaves of the plant sitting next to the disguised one. They are called LEAF ROLLERS and can be treated in two ways.

One way is with natural enemies such as birds and parasitoid trichogramma wasps, which may be introduced to the garden. Another method is dusting with Bacillus thuringiensis (BT) on a routine basis. Beware, though, they are not always black and gray; the name is given to many different species of caterpillars that roll foliage around themselves and spin sticky webbing as they roll. Go get ‘um before they get you!